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Attendance Policies and Practices

Attendance Policies and Practices

Importance of Attendance

The district places a strong emphasis on student attendance, recognizing its critical role in academic success and overall well-being. Research shows that strong attendance at the elementary school level leads to consistent attendance patterns in middle and high school.

If coming to school is a challenge for some students, we aim to develop a plan to create patterns of consistent attendance rather than patterns of absenteeism.

To support students and address barriers to attendance, we may use resources such as:

  • Meetings with your student's school team
  • Services from Home to School Liaisons
  • Coordination with community agencies

Our goal is to work together to identify the causes of absences, review their impact, and develop a plan to meet the student's social, emotional, and academic needs.

Attendance Policy (Code C7)

Our district’s attendance policy outlines the requirements and expectations for student attendance. For detailed information, please refer to the full policy here: WNESU Attendance Policy C7 (PDF).

Windham County Attendance Best Practices

Process and Expectations


It is our shared responsibility to be sure that every child is safe and accounted for on every school day. If your child is absent from school, please notify the school within 30 minutes of your school’s start time.

Unreported Absences

The school will contact the parent/guardian at home or at work. If a child is not in school on a given day and we have not received notification from the parent/guardian and are not able to make contact with them, we will contact the appropriate police/sheriff’s department as early in the day as possible for a welfare check. This is solely to ensure our student is safe. We will then make another outreach to the parent/guardian to make a plan to prevent further unreported absences.


Being on time sets a positive tone for the day and emphasizes the importance of education. Students are expected to arrive at school no later than the stated start time for your school. Students arriving after this time are considered late and will be marked tardy. Regular tardiness means the student misses the opportunity to be greeted, eat breakfast, settle into the day, and generally get off to a positive start. If a trend of tardiness begins to appear, we will ask the parent/guardian to create a plan with the school to ensure that students arrive on time.


We utilize a team approach for school attendance, including the child, their family, and school officials to explore with the student and family what obstacles are hindering school attendance. A student-centered plan will be developed to increase school attendance. Follow-up steps are set to assess if the plan is working for the student and the family. Records are kept in school files of all contacts related to this plan made with the family of the student. Interventions of last resort regarding attendance typically involve the Windham County State’s Attorney and the Department of Children and Families. Involvement of those agencies happens after habitual absences and very low family involvement with the school.

Team Membership

We rely on school staff to support improved attendance. If needed at a later stage, staff from state and community agencies, as well as parent liaison supports, will assist. Team meetings can be part of EST, 504, IEP, Act 264, Interaction Youth Services, and other necessary supports for the student.


School staff typically will use the following procedures to support families with school attendance. However, families should be aware that every situation is different, so this is not to be interpreted as the sole protocol:

  • After five tardy days: School personnel contacts family in person or by phone. Letter to go out to family from principal.
  • After seven tardy days: Letter to go out to family from principal. Parent meeting scheduled with counselor and teacher.
  • After ten tardy days: Letter to go out to family from principal. Parent meeting scheduled by school staff, with principal, counselor, teacher, and any other necessary school staff. At the meeting, a release of information may be signed by the family to allow discussion between the school and outside agencies if necessary.
  • After five absent days: School personnel contact family in person or by phone, AND by mail. Based on the previous year, families may be referred to community supports or state agencies once an absence trend is identified.
  • After ten absent days: Letter to go out to family including, if appropriate, a request for information related to any medical diagnoses that your student may be experiencing that is preventing them from attending school. Parent meeting scheduled with Educational Support Team (EST) or Attendance Committee and school personnel (including teacher, counselor, and principal). A referral to community supports may be necessary at this stage.
  • After fifteen absent days: Letter to go out to family. Parent meeting scheduled according to guidelines established in Act 264 with school personnel and representative from outside agencies. These could include DCF, designated mental health, family support, and truancy agencies, as well as law enforcement.
  • Subsequent Absences: Depending on the situation, the school will continue to refer to community supports and will determine if a referral to DCF or the State’s Attorney will be necessary.

Family Court Involvement

State’s Attorney

An affidavit goes to Windham County State’s Attorney detailing the amount of absences, records of outreach between the school and the family, and what supports have already been put in place. The State’s Attorney will review the materials and determine if they believe the student is a Child in Need of Services. If the State’s Attorney makes this determination, a prosecutor will file a case in the Windham County Family Court to formally intervene with the student’s habitual absences. This is to ensure that a plan will be followed to remedy the absences and have your student regularly go back to school.

Family Court

The Family Court judge evaluates any case filed by the State’s Attorney and determines if conditions need to be imposed on the family related to your student’s attendance. If a case is brought, you will be entitled to an attorney for both you and your student. Please note: The school is not formally involved with truancy cases brought by the State’s Attorney (meaning that the school is not suing your family). Any truancy cases in Court are brought by the State of Vermont.